Grad Students Help High School Students Become Stars at Statewide Summer Camp

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Ordom Huot speaking to students about entomology during the STARS camp. Photo by Rob Williams

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Grad students Xanthe Shirley and Ordom Huot presented to several high school students during a recent youth camp at the Memorial Student Center.

The STARS Camp is a camp held during the summer for students interested in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. During the two-day camp, participants learned about degree programs and networking, as well as career and college preparation.

The group hosted students from various Houston and San Antonio area schools during the last week of July. Some of the topics covered during the entomology session included what entomology is, interesting facts about insects, jobs that they could do if they choose to graduate with an entomology or forensic and investigative sciences degree.

Huot (Ph.D. candidate, Dr. Cecilia Tamborindeguy’s lab) and Shirley (M.S. student, Dr. James Woolley’s lab) then spoke about their research programs and how they applied what they learned from their undergraduate classes to help solve problems they are working with during their graduate studies.The students then participated in several activities and games with the grad students and enjoyed hands-on viewing of the department’s insect collection.

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Xanthe Shirley showing students some insects in the Department’s teaching collection. Photo by Rob Williams

“I really enjoy teaching kids about entomology,” Huot said. “The high school students are really excited to learn that there are many career opportunities in entomology.”

Huot said the students were very interested in hearing what they could do with entomology and what they can do if they pursued a degree in either the Entomology or Forensic and Investigative Sciences programs.

“I had the pleasure of teaching them that entomology has multiple applications including but not limited to growing food, saving lives, helping animals, understanding nature, saving forests, fighting crime, and protecting our quality of life,” he said.

Shirley enjoyed volunteering at the event and loved knowing that the students learned about what they can do if they choose to enter into the field of entomology or forensic and investigative sciences.

“It was so wonderful teaching the high school students about entomology,” she said. “The part I enjoyed most was discussing with them the different applications of the field of entomology. When I was in high school, I wasn’t aware of the possible careers in entomology, so I was happy to share and discuss with them the different opportunities.”

Both Shirley and Huot found out about the program two years ago from the directors of the program when they were looking for volunteers.

“I heard about the STARS program two years ago when the program coordinators contacted us to give entomology workshops for their students,” Huot said. “I had such a great time teaching the students about entomology, I just continue to give the workshops every year.”

If you would like to have the Entomology Graduate Student Organization members to give an outreach presentation or event, please contact Xanthe Shirley, Outreach Chair by email at xanthe23@tamu.edu.

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